Daryl Morey is arguably the most aggressive general manager in the league. Just in the last year, he stripped down his roster in pursuit of Dwight Howard, gave $25 million to a pair of players with a collective 27 starts between them, and spent $80 million and two lottery picks on a bench player from the Thunder.
Now, with the team sitting on some $7 million in cap space and a pile of power forwards, most people are expecting Morey to make a big move. Whenever a player hits the trade market, most reporters are quick to assign interest to the Rockets because of this history of making big deals. Just in the past few weeks, they've been linked to everyone from Zach Randolph and Danny Granger to Josh Smith and Andrew Bynum.
But if you are out there expecting Morey to land another superstar at the deadline, I would say that a careful look at the team's finances would indicate that a move might be harder to pull off than one might believe.
Salary Cap Structure
Though the Rockets have nearly $7 million in cap space that they can use to facilitate a deal, they do not have any players outside of Lin, Harden, and Asik making more than $3 million this season. Even with adding in all three of their lower value expiring contracts (Cole Aldrich, Carlos Delfino, and Toney Douglas), the Rockets are only able to absorb a shade under $14.5 million in salary in any given trade.
In most of the scenarios being thrown around, that salary might be adequate. But if the Rockets need to sweeten the deal with young talent, the trades start to look a little more convoluted.
Take an imaginary deal with the Los Angeles Lakers for Pau Gasol. Even with Douglas, Delfino, and Aldrich in the deal, the Rockets would be some $5 million short what would be required under salary cap rules to fit Gasol's $19 million in. Add in Royce White, Patrick Patterson, and Terrence Jones, and you have a deal that fits under the cap.
Why the Houston Rockets are unlikely to make big move at the deadline
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